1961 Cooper Monaco
Desirable 2.7 Litre Climax-Powered Example. Previously Owned by Sid Hoole and John Harper. Beautiful Presentation and Excellent Value.
1961 Cooper Monaco Mark IIIDark Green with White stripes and Black Interior
The Cooper Car Company is regarded as one of the most important British Motorsports companies in the world. A small powerhouse of a business throughout post war racing, Cooper cars elated spectators and press with their engineering efficiency and nimble capacity on racetracks all over the world. The list of drivers for their racecars includes Sir Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, and Pedro Rodriguez, to name but a few. Throughout the 50s and 60s their rear engine racecars dominated the scene with pioneering technology including lightweight honeycomb monocoque construction, engine tuning, and several racing innovations. Of course their dominance was not limited to Formula One, as the Mini-Cooper proved on Rally courses over and over again.
The Cooper Monaco was a very special, low profile, lightweight sports racer, which earned its name in honor of the Cooper victory at the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix. First introduced in 1958, ongoing refinements were put in place with the Mark II (first offered in 1960) and again as the Mark III. The Mark III development was particularly important in that it included a new stiffer chassis and replaced the former transverse rear leaf spring with double wishbone suspension.
This 1961 Cooper Monaco is a Mark II bodied car, featuring the desirable double wishbone coil spring suspension of the Mark III series. It is equipped with a 2.7-liter 'Indy' engine, a version of the illustrious Coventry Climax FPF 4-cylinder racing engine. Very likely one of the last Cooper Monacos built at the factory, this car was intended to be assembled with a 'pointed fin' 1961-type Monaco Mark III body, but it appears this body may not have been completed in 1961. Some evidence suggests this car was possibly retained as an incomplete car and stored by a former Cooper Car Company employee. Eventually, the car passed to British specialist racing car and prototype bodywork manufacturer, Mo Gomm of Old Woking, Surrey. Sometime later, Cooper specialist and historian Sid Hoole purchased the car from Gomm, and completed it mechanically, fitting complete Mark II bodywork to the chassis, which it still boasts today. John Harper, a front running historic racer and dealer in British Historic racing, purchased the completed car from Hoole and installed the 2.7-liter engine, which has performed to everyone’s delight in spectacular fashion.
The car is presented today with a very nice combination of excellent racing engineering and a settled restoration. The purposeful look and feel of these cars cannot be overstated. The engineering, stance and low profile are beguiling in photos, only in person does one begin to understand the depth of mechanical innovation bundled into such a beautiful and efficient package. The paint and body are quite nice and certainly at the higher level of racecar cosmetics, though having developed a nice patina since the paint and finish were completed sometime ago. The body panels are nicely finished and exhibit very good panel fit given racecar construction standards of the past. The wheels and tires are nicely fit to the body with very good paint and finish. The plexiglass windscreen and side screens are in very good condition showing minimal wear or hazing. Tail light lenses, headlight covers, and front emblem are all in good to very good condition. In all, the exterior presentation is quite nice for someone who wishes to race a car with handsome proportions and satisfying cosmetics.
The interior has typical finishes for racecars again showing evidence of use, but still very presentable. The seat material has begun to separate along the border seams, but the seats still retain structure and hold up once in use. The dash is nicely arrayed with a mix of contemporary safety features for vintage racing and vintage instruments accented against the black crackle dash finish. The raw aluminum and black finishes send a clear message – this Cooper Monaco is all about racing and the confidence to win.
Hinging back the rear deck lid, the mechanical artistry of the engine and supporting mechanical components is fully revealed. The open layout allows for easy access to all components including dual Weber carburetors, tuned exhaust and the unique Mark III coil-over rear suspension that separates this series car from other earlier Monacos. The engine compartment is tidy and prepared with reverence to authentic elements but updated for safety and reliability. The suspension, frame, engine, and gearbox are all nicely restored but now display evidence of use.
The car starts and runs very well, generating a great exhaust sounds at idle or when blipping the throttle. Steering response is quick and very direct. While we do not have paperwork on file to confirm the hours since mechanical overhaul on the various components, in all respects, this Cooper Monaco displays mechanical confidence and cosmetic harmony for someone who is eager to go racing, participate in events, or simply show a historically important racecar from an era that will never again be repeated.
This Cooper Monaco offers a racing enthusiast a great opportunity to experience one of the most capable and beautiful sports racers ever built at a price point well below examples boasting significant historical provenance. With its robust 2.7 liter engine and innovative chassis construction, this Mark III has all the benefits of the Monaco series cars combined with the best of modern vintage racing improvements.